Current Graduate Student


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Kara Kundert

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Research Interests

I am particularly interested in the intersection of radio instrumentation, observation, and cosmology. Which is to say, I prefer projects where I get to think about all aspects of big picture questions and build a thorough foundation from which to make new connections and improve our understanding of the universe.

For my graduate work, I am partnering with Professor Aaron Parsons and many other members of the RAL to develop the HYdrogen Probe for the Epoch of ReIONization (HYPERION), a specialized low-frequency interferometer to study the Epoch of Reionization (EoR) through the spatial monopole of the 21cm brightness temperature of neutral hydrogen as a function of redshift (i.e. the ``global signal"). The goal of HYPERION is to detect the global signal, which could provide key insights into the physics and development of our early universe, including information on the formation of the first stars, galaxies, and black holes. HYPERION is still in initial research and development, which means that I get to jump in and learn every aspect of what goes into the instrument and why, develop new data analysis techniques for our unique instrument, and master the scientific theory behind the EoR to better understand what we're trying to see and how.


Personal Interests

In my free time, I love to play and perform bluegrass music throughout the state. I also volunteer my time to organize local roots music events and community gatherings, such as Bluegrass Pride and the revived SF Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival. I can be found singing and picking a mandolin at many jam nights throughout the Bay Area and in local parks on sunny days.


Biography

I am a second-year graduate student working under Professor Aaron Parsons to develop HYPERION, a specialized interferometer to observe how the overall average hydrogen content of the universe evolved during the Epoch of Reionization. As this is a very young project with many varied needs, I often have to change gears and explore niche aspects of the project. At present, my focus is on mastering digital signal processing and building a robust digital backend system for our instrument.

Throughout the course of my career at Berkeley and beyond, I hope to both drive the frontiers of humanity's understanding of the early universe and to make the sciences and academia more inclusive to people of all backgrounds, particularly trauma survivors. In this vein, I have taken on the roles within the department of climate advisor, AstroQ leader, and organizing member of the biweekly seminar AstroJustice.


Projects

HYPERION

Image for HYPERION

The Hydrogen Probe of the Epoch of Reionization (HYPERION) is a specialized low-frequency interferometer to study the Epoch of Reionization through the spatial monopole of the 21cm brightness temperature of neutral hydrogen as a function of redshift (i.e. the ''global signal"). The goal of HYPERION is to detect the monopole reionization signal. A detection of this signal could give key insights into the physics and development of our early universe, including information on the formation of the first stars and galaxies.

More about HYPERION